Helping the Inland Northwest's Most Vulnerable Since 1896

Billy uses skateboards to fight homelessness

by Frances Wang (KREM-2 News)

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Crosswalk teen shelter downtown helps kids stay off the streets and is now using a fun on-street form of recreation to help.

In the final stretch of the school year, one volunteer is hoping to motivate the kids to finish strong. And he is thinking outside the box to make that happen.

A lot of the force behind Crosswalk is volunteer-driven. Many of those volunteers are actually kids who used to go to Crosswalk too.

One of those kids grew up to be a man who tries to be as involved in helping out the community as much as possible. Right now he's working on refurbishing skateboards to offer a reward to the kids who push through the school year.

Billy Sexton says he is been working with the homeless in Spokane for years.

While trying to help, he said he realized that it is almost impossible to break the cycle of homelessness once you are in it.

Sexton is hoping to target the problem before it even really begins. He has recently shifted his efforts to keeping the kids at the Crosswalk shelter in school. He tries to find interesting ways to do it; his project right now uses skateboards to reward kids who stay in school.

"When I was a kid, I came down here. All they wanna do is help. If it gives a little bit of incentive to keep these kids in school, they're down," said Sexton.

"I would like there to be just a constant source of positive reward," said Sexton. "Instead of having all these rules and if you break them you get in trouble, why not have some more incentive. A little bit of reward at the end."

Local skateboard shop "Pistole" has already donated old skateboard decks. But Sexton needs more – bearings, trucks, axles, risers, basically any old but usable skateboard parts will do.

His motto? "The solution is hours" – hour as in if everyone put in an hour or 2 to help, the community would be a whole lot better off.

Sexton will be working on this project out until the end of the school year – that is when he will present the kids with the boards. He needs a lot of help until that time.

If you would like to contact Sexton, you can email him at

Transcript reprinted from